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Recent Publications

“Vitamin D3 Update Reveals Inconsistencies”

Aug 12, 2018

Vitamin D 3 is a hot topic, with studies proclaiming its benefits for a variety of serious conditions. To the contrary, other recent studies have been more cautious, questioning its perceived usefulness. Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol, the form we use in the body), which helps with calcium absorption, has been reported as being of overall benefit to good health. It is found in cod liver oil and has been fortified in milk since 1933 to prevent rickets. Sunlight activates the synthesis of vitamin D in the skin, and people who get little sun exposure have lower stores of the vitamin. Sunlight is the best source of vitamin D, but in the winter months, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) recommend topping up vitamin D levels by eating vitamin D-containing foods each day. These include oily fish, fortified milk, beef liver, egg yolks, mushrooms, and fortified breakfast cereals. Patients with higher vitamin D levels have been shown to have lower rates of breast, colon, ovarian, prostate, pancreatic and lymphomatous cancers and vitamin D helps prevent cancer cells from growing and spreading. Overall, clinical trials in which people were given high doses of vitamin D showed lower risks of cancer, arthritis, and diabetes. Studies are also suggesting that vitamin D might have protective benefits against heart failure, respiratory tract infections, autoimmune disease, and even hair loss. However, a 2018 randomized controlled study of over 47,000 patients, reported in JAMA Oncology, found that high-dose vitamin D supplementation prescribed monthly for up to 4 years without calcium may not protect against the development of cancer.

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“Coffee May Help Prolong Life”

Aug 05, 2018

According to some studies, coffee is in the “almost to good to be true” category, as reliable evidence is becoming available supporting its health promoting potential. Coffee is the leading worldwide beverage and its trade exceeds US $10 billion. Currently, 54% of Americans over the age of 18 drink coffee every day. Americans average 3.1 cups a day and the average size of a cup is 9 oz. One recent study found that regularly drinking coffee was linked with a decreased risk of developing heart failure and strokes and it may help regulate blood sugar levels. However, this data cannot conclusively identify cause and effect. Recently, Prof. Miguel Martínez-González — from the University of Navarra in Spain — presented unpublished research suggesting that drinking coffee is associated with a reduced risk of death. Prof. Martínez-González has found that drinking between three and six cups of coffee per day can reduce all-cause mortality. For each two additional cups of coffee per day, the risk of death is reduced by as much as 22%. More than one study found that drinking coffee was tied to a lower death risk. Various meta-analyses found that coffee drinkers had up to a 17% lower risk of death from all causes, compared with people who did not drink coffee.

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“Multivitamins Do Not Prevent Heart Disease or Strokes”

Jul 29, 2018

Currently, 53% of the population now takes a daily dietary supplement and, of these, multivitamins are the most widely used product of this $26 billion industry. About 31% of Americans use multivitamin and mineral supplements, according to 2011-2012 data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Still, most experts seriously doubt the “claimed benefits” of these supplements and they have found the harmful potential of many of them, including multivitamins. Cases in point, new studies have linked heavy multivitamin use to fatal prostate cancer, increased breast tissue density (associated with breast cancer), and increased allergies and asthma in children. Cancer experts say multivitamins are far less effective than a good diet, exercise and not smoking, each of which can lower cancer risk by 20% to 30%. A new 2018 study, published in Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes, states that taking multivitamin and mineral supplements don’t prevent heart attacks, strokes, or cardiovascular death. Experts reviewed results from 18 prospective cohort studies and randomized controlled trials, which involved a total of more than 2 million participants with an average of 12 years of follow-up.

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“Healthy Obesity – Is There Such a Thing ?” Metabolically

Jul 22, 2018

Metabolically healthy obesity (also known as “healthy obesity”) describes obesity not accompanied by metabolic health complications, such as diabetes, hypertension, or high cholesterol. There are heated debates about what “healthy” metabolically healthy obesity actually is, and whether it renders people more vulnerable to other health problems. In 2004, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention scientists published a study suggesting obesity was responsible for 400,000 deaths a year, making it almost as deadly as smoking. But, it turned out to be a false alarm. The authors made methodological errors that skewed their number too high. Being “overweight,” but not obese, was not associated with an increased risk of death at all. Shockingly, in 2013, a meta-analysis study found that even when adjusting for smoking, age, and sex, overweight people—those with a body mass index of between 25 and 30—had a 6 percent lower risk of dying than normal-weight individuals. To the contrary, a 2018 study suggested that healthy obesity does, in fact, put certain people at a higher risk of cardiovascular disease. But, what about the risk of premature death? The researchers found that obesity alone, in the absence of hypertension, dyslipidemia (high cholesterol), and diabetes, is not associated with a heightened mortality risk.

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“World Fish Demand is Unsustainable”

Jul 15, 2018

The United Nations just warned that a third of the world’s oceans are overfished and fish consumption is at an all-time high, raising fears over the sustainability of a key source of protein for millions around the world. Overfishing is particularly bad in parts of the developing world where many people already struggle to get enough nutritious food to eat. Currently, 3.2 billion people rely on fish for almost 20% of their animal protein intake. Fish is one small part of a healthy diet. People who eat at least two servings a week of oily fish like salmon, mackerel, herring, and tuna should keep it up because US doctors still say it’s a good way to reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke. But, this is not a prescription for fried catfish. The new scientific advisory reaffirms the American Heart Association (AHA) recommendations against fried fish and stresses the benefits of eating two 3.5-ounce servings a week of fish, especially oily varieties rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Some medical articles say that it is possible that eating at least two weekly servings of fish—especially those with lots of omega-3 fatty acids—can help lower the risk of heart failure, coronary heart disease, cardiac arrest, and ischemic stroke.

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“Drug Manufacturer’s Risky Practices”

Jul 03, 2018

Previously, I have said, “Pharmaceutical companies have egregiously participated in one hundred years of sleazy practices and continue to do so.”  According to a 2013 article in the Journal of Law, Medicine and Ethics (JLME), here is the heart of the problem: about 350 people die daily from drug reactions or 128,000 per year. Pharmaceutical companies hide, ignore, or misrepresent evidence about new drugs; distort the medical literature; and misrepresent products to prescribing physicians. There appears to be an epidemic of harmful allowable Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved drugs, which have scarce benefits to any patients. A 2018 report shows that Nuplazid, a drug for hallucinations and delusions associated with Parkinson’s disease, failed two clinical trials. In a third trial, under a revised standard for measuring its effect, it showed minimal benefit.  Overall, more patients died or had serious side effects on Nuplazid than after
receiving no treatment.  Also, patients on Uloric, a gout drug, suffered more heart attacks, strokes and heart failure in two out of three trials than did their counterparts on standard or no medication.

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“Dietary Hodgepodge is Fascinating and Flawed”

Jun 24, 2018

Many diets have caught on without any scientific support and have influenced the nutritional landscape for millions of Americans. Seventy percent of American adults are overweight and more than 35% are obese. But, many trending diet plans have been nothing more than fads. Here are a few of them.  The Beverly Hills Diet, published in 1981, sold over 1 million copies. The diet
was endorsed by actors and entertainers, including Englebert Humperdinck and Linda Gray. Its creator, Judy Mazel (1943-2007)—who had no science or nutrition training—opened a diet clinic in Beverly Hills to promote the diet that had helped her lose more than 70 pounds. The diet promises a weight loss of 10-15 pounds after 5 weeks on a fruit-based diet. Following this  period, carbohydrates, fat, and protein are slowly reintroduced according to strict rules: Fruit must always be eaten alone; protein may be combined with fat, but not carbohydrates; carbohydrates must not be combined with protein; and beer counts as carbs, wine as fruit, but champagne is “neutral” and can be consumed at any time. The diet was strongly criticized in a 1981 JAMA article by Drs Gabe Mirkin and Ronald Shore for its lack of scientific and nutritional grounding and for Mazel’s theory that weight gain is caused by undigested food that gets “stuck” in the body.

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“Diet and Nutrition Recommendations have a History of Being Wrong”

Jun 03, 2018

Most people try to eat a so-called “healthy diet”, which is presumably based on solid scientific studies. Sadly, the history of dietary recommendations has a long history littered with errors. In the 1940s, the USDA was emphasizing the Basic Seven, with a focus on bread/flour/cereals, butter or margarine, and at least 2 cups of milk a day. The 1984 Food Wheel and 1992 Food Guide Pyramid still relied heavily on bread, grains, and cereals (6-11 servings per day), but increased emphasis on fruits and vegetables (5-9 servings per day) while warning that fats and oils should only be eaten sparingly. Not until 2005 did the USDA transition to diet personalization, moderation, and proportion, with a first-time emphasis on the value of oils. Currently, the entire concept of a healthy diet has been flipped on its head. Cholesterol, once definitely labeled as bad, can now be good or bad. Carbohydrates, once the foundation of food recommendations, now might be implicated in the increased prevalence of obesity and diabetes, though whole grains still provide a variety of potential health benefits. And, in a complete turnaround, certain fats and oils, once considered among the greatest of food evils, have demonstrated cardiovascular benefit.

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“Crash Diets May Affect The Heart”

May 20, 2018

Diets of every genre are available, but many are not considered to be healthful or safe. Such is the case for the so-called “crash diet.” Please remember that there is no such thing as a “miracle diet.” The constant barrage of published diet and nutrition information makes it difficult for clinicians and patients to separate the wheat from the chaff, but research tells us that nutrition is a critical component to human health. Crash diets, also called meal replacement programs, have become increasingly fashionable in the past few years. Crash diets, also known as low-calorie diets, are very appealing to those wishing to lose weight fast—and that is most people. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has warned that they could be dangerous, depriving the body of essential nutrients, and that these effects are particularly worrisome in children and teenagers. Other adverse health effects that scientists have warned about include the slowing down of the metabolism, the weakening of the immune system, and the increasing chances of dehydration and arrhythmia. New research looked specifically at the effects of crash diets on heart health. Researchers say that these diets have a very low-calorie content of 600 to 800 [calories] per day and can be effective for losing weight, reducing blood pressure, and reversing diabetes, but the effects on the heart have not been studied until now. The crash diet revealed some important health benefits after just one week: better insulin resistance and healthier levels of total cholesterol, blood sugar, and blood pressure. But surprisingly, heart fat levels rose by 44%.

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“Medical Myths Need Clarification”

May 13, 2018

Medical myths are unbelievably common and have been handed down from generation to generation. These fantasies and old wives’ tales need to be debunked and clarified. Many have been repeated so many times that they have taken on an air of truth. But, let’s look at five of the most common myths. Myth one: ‘Eggs are bad for the heart’. New research suggests there is no link between eating lots of eggs and cholesterol imbalance or increased risk of heart problems and type 2 diabetes. People who eat more than seven eggs per week have increased LDL-C, or “bad” cholesterol, but this is almost always matched by a similar increase of HDL-C, which has protective properties. The evidence suggests that eating even as many as two eggs every day is safe and has either neutral or slightly beneficial effects on risk factors for heart disease and type 2 diabetes. According to the CDC, eggs are one of the “most nutritious and economical foods” that nature can offer us. Myth two: ‘Drink eight glasses of water per day’.

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